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Old 11-23-2008, 04:50 PM   #1
Ekidon
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Default CO2 quality?

I made the switch to kegging last summer and was priming my kegs with sugar, until this last one when I forced carbonated for the first time. Turned out great, but the beer has a bit of an off flavor I can't quite identify. The beer smells clean but tastes just a bit funky.

Then, this is the weirdest part: the beer has a caffiene effect on those who drink it. The night we tapped it I had a bunch of friends over (serious drinkers all) and we all had trouble sleeping like we'd had a pot of coffee or something. I had a few pints last night and had a similar reaction.

So, my question is could there be something about the CO2 and my force carbonation that is contributing the off flavor and keeping us up at night. Are there "cleaner" types of CO2. Since I use paint ball 20 oz canisters maybe I need to make sure the guys filling my tanks know I'm using them for dispensing beer.

Thanks!

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Old 11-23-2008, 05:12 PM   #2
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There are different grades of CO2, however I am not certain how common the lower-grade industrial is. When I ask whether a supplier sells beverage-grade they ussually assume I'm a moron and claim that it's the only grade available.

I imagine industrial-grade might give off-flavors, but I doubt something in it would have a stimulant effect. I'd call up the shop and ask what they sell.

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Old 11-23-2008, 05:16 PM   #3
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I can't imagine that anyone using industrial grade CO2 would tolerate any impurities in their gas. I'm sure a welder or a manufacturer would have pretty high standards to ensure a uniform product. Not only that, I'll bet the process of creating CO2 is fairly standard in the industry whether it's for human consumption or for industrial processes. It's my understanding that difference lies in the tank its stored in. The human consumption tanks have a lining of some kind in them.

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Old 11-23-2008, 06:33 PM   #4
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I hear the only difference is the lining inside and the gas is the same. Micromatic sells an inline CO2 purifier that should filter anything nasty out.

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Old 11-23-2008, 06:37 PM   #5
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As Fingers said, the industrial uses for CO2 (mostly shielding gas for welding) are much less tolerant of any contamination than your taste buds would ever be able to perceive.

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Old 11-23-2008, 07:00 PM   #6
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Thanks all. I called the shop and they said the piantball tank had more "liquid CO2" than the other. My son, the AP Chemisty student, commented that CO2 needs extreme pressure to become a liquid, probably more pressure than found in a tank. So, I wonder what the liquid is. For now on I'll make sure to ask for the other gas.

Thanks again everyone.

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Old 11-23-2008, 07:01 PM   #7
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I get mine filled at a large local gas supplier where the industrial and food CO2 gets dispensed from the same industrial (pure grade) CO2 tanks.

Did you add any sort of odd vegetable/plant matter to this brew that may have contained a caffeine like element?

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Old 11-23-2008, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giligson View Post
Did you add any sort of odd vegetable/plant matter to this brew that may have contained a caffeine like element?
No. I brewed a Boddington's clone kit from Austin Homebrew, and the only unusual ingredient is the Lyle's Golden Syrup. Otherwise, it was a really straight forward extract recipe.
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:11 PM   #9
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My welding supplier told me that they used to supply CO2 to restaurants and such and had to keep them separated from the tanks that went to welders because the latter sometimes had problems with impurities in tanks that were used for soda.

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Old 11-23-2008, 08:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ekidon View Post
Thanks all. I called the shop and they said the piantball tank had more "liquid CO2" than the other. My son, the AP Chemisty student, commented that CO2 needs extreme pressure to become a liquid, probably more pressure than found in a tank. So, I wonder what the liquid is. For now on I'll make sure to ask for the other gas.

Thanks again everyone.
All CO2 tanks are filled with the liquid CO2, which is why they are measured in lb's instead of other gasses like argon or nitrogen which are measured in cubic feet (CF). The liquid CO2 "boils" and fills the empty part of the tank with gaseous CO2 until the pressure reaches a high enough level that it keeps the additional liquid from boiling. At normal room temperature, that pressure is somewhere around 800PSI.

So, when you use CO2 from the tank, you are only using that gaseous part that's above the liquid level. As you use gas, the pressure drops, and more of the liquid boils to bring the pressure back to equilibrium. It's science!
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